PORTLAND — Over the past nine months I have had the opportunity to speak with thousands of Portland residents about their hopes for the new mayor.

Though many of us may be experiencing difficult times, I’ve been struck by the optimism and hopefulness that abounds in these conversations. We recognize the great city we live in and know that, together, we can weather this period.

However, all is not well, and some residents and families are facing increasingly challenging living situations. Recently, I spoke with an 82-year-old woman in East Deering who wonders how she will continue to live in her home on a fixed income as taxes and energy costs continue to rise. Another family I spoke with described slipping into poverty after having lost their business to the recession.
I also heard from parents on Lane Avenue who are frustrated about having to send their children to a failing school.

In these conversations, the call is resounding: You want new leadership, and you expect better.
Last year, in choosing to have an elected mayor, you asked for a stronger tool to help improve the daily life of the average resident. For some, this means having a job that pays a decent wage; for others, it’s property tax relief.

Others want better schools that challenge their children at a level on par with the demands of a competitive world; still others desire a continuation of our quality of life with a greater emphasis on economic development.

Many want a new leader in City Hall who knows how to better serve the people and families of Portland, as well as the city’s businesses. In essence, old problems require new solutions, and that comes from new leadership. I’ve heard you loud and clear for the last nine months, and that’s why I’m running for mayor.

I am independent of the political machine that has dominated City Hall for decades, and, though I am a Democrat, I don’t adhere to strict party orthodoxy.

Rather, I have proposed solid ideas rooted in common sense to bring about the change our city needs. The Portland Community Chamber, among other organizations, has recognized my bold ideas and, in their endorsement of my candidacy, said I offer “the most specific plans for attracting business to Portland.”

For me, this position is not a capstone to a public service career, nor is it merely a launching pad for higher office. Instead, I am running because I view this as a new and ambitious opportunity to benefit Portland.

I am a “common-sense collaborator,” says the Chamber, and I would practice that approach in City Hall as an inclusive leader, one not beholden to particular interests.

If we want to tackle the issues that have been eluding our current leaders it is essential we apply a new set of standards in City Hall. These standards require accountability of our elected officials. If elected I will, from day one, begin to implement the changes you asked for at the ballot box last November and that you have reaffirmed in the countless conversations we have had since. 

I will be responsive to your needs and develop innovative solutions to confront our challenges.
We will soon elect a mayor for the first time in nearly 90 years. Even for those who opposed the charter change, there exist two clear choices this Nov. 8.

The first choice is re-electing the status quo, and thus ensuring another four years of City Hall complacency.

Or, if you’re part of the growing chorus of voters who wish to turn the page and move Portland forward with new ideas and a different approach to governance, there is another choice this fall – I hope to be your first choice for mayor.

– Special to the Press Herald